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"Milford Deep Underwater Observatory" Top 5 Page for this destination Milford Sound Things to Do Tip by Kakapo2

Milford Sound Things to Do: 121 reviews and 224 photos

  The observatory sits at the bottom right.
by Kakapo2

I have not been at the Underwater Observatory because I had other plans for the day. (And I am no hero under water…) But I know that it is a very unique experience – due to the unique underwater life you find at Milford Sound.

As stated in the intro, Milford Sound has a unique underwater world, due a thick layer of dark-coloured freshwater, stained by tannin-rich organic material, on top of the saltwater of the fiord. This enables red and black corals to live in much higher levels than normally. Also sea anemones, sponges, sea stars, horse mussels, tube worms, and lots of different fish species abound here. And you can see it all from a climatised viewing room of the Underwater Observatory, named Milford Deep, at 10.4 metres below the water surface – this is like a four-storey building the wrong way round… Normally the coral would grow below 40 metres only.
To protect the black coral from harvesting and commercial cropping for jewellery, Harrison Cove, the location of the observatory, has been converted into a marine reserve. This status protects all underwater marine life.

Please note: This is not an aquarium! You see the underwater world as it is.

Cost: NZ$ 28, children NZ$ 14.


Cruise operators have a drop-off/pick-up service, but normally not on the last two cruises. Or get on a water taxi. The NZ$ 28 are the entry fee only.

Although the observatory has a direct link to Red Boats, also Mitre Peak Cruises and RealJourneys do drop you off and pick you up at Harrison Cove.

othercontact: E-mail:
Phone: (03) 441 1137 and (0800) 264 536

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written May 23, 2009
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